Scientists have created a program that removes the boring parts of videos

No one wants to watch a boring video. Luckily, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have created a program that promises to cut the “boring” out automatically. Called LiveLight, the algorithm was the brainchild of Eric P. Xing, professor of machine learning, and Bin Zhao, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon. Their project has won support from Google, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, among others. Zhao said the idea emerged when Xing was trying to find shareable parts of videos of his son. Instead of sitting through tedious minutes or hours of footage, the computer algorithm “can pinpoint what is interesting in the video,” Zhao told CBS News. It skips over the parts with little action and produces a trailer of the video’s best moments.

Everyone’s recording video these days—from the phone in your hand to the GoPro strapped to your head—but that means there’s a lot of garbage being filmed, too. Now, a new piece of software from Carnegie Mellon University can automatically edit out the boring bits and allow you to watch just the interesting parts. The new software, called LiveLight, constantly evaluates action in a video. It tries to identify visual novelty, so it flags sections that are repetitive or eventless and then edits them out. In effect, it produces a trailer version of the footage you shoot—just the best bits. Obviously, it doesn’t provide a professional edit—it just fades in and out the clips of interest—but the ideas is that it could help people find the footage they need within huge files captured from cameras that are always on. So, it could help you find the crash in your GoPro recordings, or, perhaps more usefully, identify a break-in from CCTV footage. Just as the the researchers suggest, in fact: “A particularly cool application is using LiveLight to automatically digest videos from, say, GoPro or Google Glass, and quickly upload thumbnail trailers to social media. The summarization process thus avoids generating costly Internet data charges and tedious manual editing on long videos.”

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